The Lamb’s Sinless Blood

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

Growing up, my mother had encouraged me to become two things—a pianist and a nurse.

After seven years of piano study with some of the finest teachers at the Cincinnati College Conservatory, my final teacher dismissed me with a smile and a word of advice: “Perhaps your true talents lay elsewhere.”

However, I was wise enough to know without being told that I could never be a nurse. I couldn’t bear the sight of blood nor stand to be in hospitals, so I disqualified myself from seeking that degree. Even my two daughters had to clean and bandage each other’s booboos growing up, poor things. They learned at an early age that Mommy couldn’t stand the sight of blood.

As distasteful as the subject of blood may be, it is of supreme importance and significance, however, in Judaism and Christianity. As I discussed in my previous post, only innocent blood can atone for sin. Since there is no flesh and blood in heaven, only spirit, that sacrifice had to be made on earth. So, after using animal blood for thousands of years, God sent His Son to be the final propitiation for our sins. Simply put, Jesus was born to die.

How could Jesus be born with sinless blood?

Click to tweet: How could Jesus be born with sinless blood?

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

Martin R. DeHaan, M.D.

What a fascinating question. Martin R. DeHaan, M.D., author of The Chemistry of the Blood, is an expert who scientifically proves how this is possible. Dr. DeHaan (1891-1965) was a physician, author, pastor and Bible teacher. Founder of Radio Bible Class, he spoke to millions of listeners for twenty-seven years. Author of more than twenty books, he also founded and contributed countless daily devotionals in Our Daily Bread, still published today from Michigan. (Click on the name above to visit Our Daily Bread website.)

Conception and Birth of Jesus

Even though Christmas is five months behind us, let’s begin by reading the Bible’s account of this supernatural event in Matthew 1:18-23:

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.  And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us’ (NASB).

God sent Jesus to earth to be born of a virgin through the power of the Holy Spirit. His human body required a pure vessel to grow in, one that had never been touched by a man. Mary herself wasn’t sinless, because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 NASB), but her physical body hadn’t yet known sexual intimacy with her husband-to-be.

After the immaculate conception, Scripture tells us that Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus (Matthew 1:24-25 NASB).

The Origin of Blood

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever cracked open an egg and found a dot of red in the yolk? I learned as a young, aspiring cook to throw that stained egg down the drain and never use a fertilized egg in recipes. Left alone, a hen’s egg won’t develop into a chick, but just hours after it’s fertilized, the red streaks of blood appear. Life is in the blood, and exactly twenty-one days later, a chick pecks its way out of its shell.

 

The same principle applies to us. A women’s menstrual cycle occurs every month, but a pregnancy requires a father’s contribution. After sperm unites with an egg, life begins, and the life is in the blood–proof that life begins at conception. Forty weeks later, a baby is born. Scripture tells us this fact:

For the life of the flesh is in the blood (Leviticus 17:14a NASB).

Since it’s the father’s contribution that produces the blood in a conceived child, God’s Son grew inside Mary’s womb with God’s perfect, sinless blood. Scientifically, the mother’s blood never mixes or comes in contact with the growing child. For a more scientific explanation from Dr. DeHaan, click How Jesus had sinless blood.

Sacrificing lambs, goats, and bulls wasn’t God’s final solution. He had a better plan.

While Jesus celebrated Passover in the Upper Room with His disciples, Passover animals waited for slaughter on the altars of Jerusalem’s Temple. As His ministry came to a close, Jesus explained to His disciples about His blood and Its purpose. Remember when Jesus said people would have to eat His body and drink His blood to be part of Him? Consequently, many of His followers found this to be a hard saying and had fallen away. However, Jesus was referring to the New Covenant, not cannibalism.

Communion, not cannibalism

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

During the night on which He was betrayed, Maundy Thursday, Jesus established the New Covenant’s Holy Communion with His disciples at the Last Supper.

While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is My body.’  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom’ (Matthew 26: 26-29 NASB).

What a glorious day when we will all take communion together with Christ in heaven!

While sacrificial animals shed their blood on the Temple’s altars, the Great Exchange happened at the Cross, and Jesus became the Savior of Mankind. With the establishment of the New Covenant, we take communion to remember what the Lord Jesus did for us—die in our place so we can be forgiven of our sins.

With the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, all blood sacrifice has ended. Forever. There is only one way to God, by His Son’s blood shed at Calvary. Through His sacrifice we are forgiven, and through His resurrection we have eternal life in heaven, becoming joint heirs with Christ.

The Lamb's Sinless Blood by Karen Jurgens

Do you know Jesus as Savior and Lord? You can. Today is the day of salvation. We have no promise of tomorrow. Ask Him to come into your heart and cleanse you of your sins with His blood. You’ll become His child, and the angels will rejoice in heaven. The angels will write your name in The Lamb’s Book of Life, and your eternity with Jesus will be sealed forever.

Have you noticed that this theme of the Lamb of God keeps growing? The more I’ve studied and delved into Scriptures concerning the Lamb, the deeper it’s become. The final post about the Lamb of God in Revelation will be the most exciting because those events are yet to come. I hope you’ll join me again soonUntil then, be blessed!

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The Jewish Lamb of God

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

Israel has been waiting for thousands of years for Messiah to come to earth to deliver them. Many passages in the Old Testament refer to this coming One.

When Jesus was born, He fulfilled every prophecy about Himself, but the Jews rejected Him as Messiah.

Did they just expect an ordinary man? Jesus came as a perfect Son of Man and Son of God. Instead of recognizing their long-prophesied Messiah, Israel rejected Him as a blasphemer and a fraud, refusing to believe in His many miracles, which alone testified of His deity.

The Mystery of the Trinity

Let’s explore this great mystery by first asking a question.  Is the Christian God three-headed? Old Testament Scripture teaches in Deuteronomy 6:4: Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord (KJV). Therefore, the concept of the Trinity makes no sense to Jewish understanding. God is clearly One, not Three.

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

Where did Jesus stand on this issue? In a conversation with the scribes two thousand years ago, He makes it plain.

And one of the scribes came, and … asked him, ‘Which is the first commandment of all?’ And Jesus answered him, ‘The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment’ ~ Mark 12:29-30, KJV.

Jesus agreed that God is One, but the sticking point came when Jesus claimed that God is His Father and that He and the Father are One. Here’s an example of Christ telling them plainly who He is:

 Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one ~ John 10:24-30, KJV.

Christians worship God as the Trinity–Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. How can God be One and yet be three persons? For the Jews, this question is a stumbling-block.

Let me attempt to explain this mystery by asking you if you are one person? Of course, you say. But do you recognize that you have three parts? Your physical body, your soul (the mind, will, and emotions), and your eternal spirit. You are three-in-one, but people view you as one person.

We agree with the Scripture that the Lord Our God is One, and we are made in God’s image. But listen to how God describes Himself in the plural in Genesis:

Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them ~ Genesis 1:26-27, NASB.

This proves that the Trinity existed from the beginning. Another way of looking at it, to satisfy our human understanding, is through the institution of marriage. When a man and a woman are joined together in holy matrimony, they become one flesh. Although they begin as two separate people, their vows before God unite them in marriage. However, every couple operates as two separate physical bodies, even after their union.

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

God has one physical image, as do we, but He is composed of three persons.

 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. ~ 1 John 5:7-8, KJV.

So Jesus is actually God’s Word that separated from God to become flesh and live among men–still completely God in a man’s body, the Son of God; still the Son of Man, the new Adam.

A Great Mystery

 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.  No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. ~ John 1:14; 17-18, NASB.

Jesus was rejected by the very ones who had been looking for His coming because Israel didn’t recognize her Messiah when He did arrive. So instead, the light of the gospel was extended to and accepted by the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul.

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.  But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God ~ John 1:9-13, NASB.

What a joyful day in the near future when scales will fall from Jewish eyes, and they will finally see the truth– Jesus is their Jewish Messiah. But when they realize that we Gentiles have been enjoying Israel’s inheritance along with all the blessings and benefits originally sent only to them, they will have an explosive emotional reaction. Jealousy will bring Israel back to their Jewish Messiah, and the root of David will be forever restored.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek ~ Romans 1:16, KJV.

We, the Gentiles, are the grafted-in branches, forever grateful. Together, Jews and Gentiles will make one tree in God, perfect and complete.

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

Hallelujah! I can’t wait until that glorious day! Many already believe, but may the rest of our Jewish brothers and sisters come to Messiah even now, today. The prophecy of bringing Israel back to her land and the Jewish people back to God is told in Ezekiel 37:1-14:

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LordThus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord. (KJV)

The Jewish Lamb of God by Karen Jurgens

In the next post about the Lamb of God, I’ll discuss another intriguing mystery:

How could Jesus the Lamb of God be born with sinless blood?

Where is the Lamb in Revelation and how is that significant today?

Until then…be blessed!

 

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament

 

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

Is there anything more adorable than a sweet little lamb? When my daughter Meg was a toddler, my mother brought her a special gift—a soft, cuddly lamb. She named it Leemie, and this stuffed toy became her constant companion day and night. She would drag it along with her blanket, take it on every outing in her stroller, and snuggle with it at night. I can’t begin to count the times Leemie had to take a bath in the washer. Even today, she sits atop pillows in a guest bedroom waiting for Meg when she comes to visit.

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

Leemie is a very special lamb to our family.

I wonder if God also loved lambs and counted them as special? I think so because He sent His Son, the Lamb of God, to reestablish our relationship with the Father. To understand this, we need to trace it back to the beginning, the Garden of Eden.

The First Atonement

Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world until the serpent deceived them to eat fruit from the forbidden Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. After God discovered the couple hiding, ashamed and covered with fig leaves, God Himself provided clothing to cover their nakedness.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them ~ Genesis 3:21 NASB.

This act of God required shedding the blood of an innocent animal to cover man’s sins.

I’ve often wondered…why couldn’t God have taken care of forgiving sins in heaven? Why did He have to shed the blood of innocent goats, rams, bulls, and lambs in Old Testament times?

Click to tweet: There is no blood in heaven

As I pondered this in prayer, God enlightened me with a startling fact. There is no blood in heaven. Heaven is a spiritual place without flesh and blood. When we die, we leave our mortal flesh behind to return to dust as our spirits are released into eternity.

Therefore, since only innocent blood can cover and forgive sins, a sacrifice had to be performed on earth, not in heaven.

Do you recall the story of Abraham and Isaac? Just when Abraham, directed by God, was about to sacrifice his son, the Lord stopped him, saying, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’  He said, ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me’ ~ Genesis 22:11b-12 NASB.

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

God’s test was not only about Abraham’s faith but also a foreshadowing of God’s sacrifice of His Son, our Messiah, for the ultimate forgiveness of mankind’s sins many years later.

The Passover Lamb

Fast-forward from Abraham to the Book of Exodus. God used Moses to deliver the Israelites out of slavery from Egypt and establish the everlasting tradition of Passover. It’s interesting to me that the tradition involves every family taking a sweet baby lamb into their house and treating it as a pet before it became their sacrifice. Here are God’s directions:

‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.  Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.  Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.  Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the Lord’s Passover.  For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the Lord.  The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt ~ Exodus 12: 3, 5-7, 11-13 NASB.

Click to tweet: The doorposts and lintels covered with blood are in the shape of…

Did you realize that lamb’s blood covering the doorposts and lintel is in the shape of a cross? Not only did the lamb’s blood protect each family from God’s judgment, but also the families, standing with sandals on their feet and staffs in their hands, roasted and ate their lamb before fleeing to the Promised Land.

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

The Law of Atonement

What procedure did God establish in the Old Testament for the forgiveness of sins? God created the Law of Atonement, outlined in Leviticus 16. Once a year, the high priest would take two goats and cast the lot to see which goat God chose to be a sacrifice and which to be a scapegoat. The one died on the altar, and its shed blood atoned for the sins of the people from the previous year. Here’s what happened to the live goat:

‘When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat. Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness. The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness’ ~ Leviticus 16:20-22 NASB.

Barred from the camp, the scapegoat wandered in the wilderness until it starved and died, and with it, all of Israel’s sins.

The lamb, along with goats and other sacrificial animals, is central throughout the Old Testament, beginning in the Garden of Eden and continuing with the Laws of the Mosaic Covenant.

IMG_1141[63747] Lamb edited

Have you ever wondered…

How does Passover relate to the Cross of Christ?

Why don’t we sacrifice animals for the forgiveness of sins now?

How did God establish His New Covenant through Christ?

Where is the Lamb in Revelation?

We’ll explore these answers in the next post of The Lamb of God in the New Testament.

Until then…be blessed!

The Lamb of God in the Old Testament by Karen Jurgens

Why Must We Forgive?

Why Must We Forgive by Karen Jurgens

Forgiveness is a hot topic in churches and across the internet. Everyone’s talking about it, including me.

Jesus is coming soon to receive His church and to gather His Saints who are spotless and pure, whose sins have been washed away in the blood of the Lamb.

How is forgiveness a major key in our preparation for that day? You’re invited to join in as I talk with Patti Shene on Step into the Light.

Just click on the link below to go to the archived show. Hope to see you there.

http://ow.ly/GMeH30jhmv5

He is Risen!

 

Blessed Resurrection Day by Karen Jurgens

I trust your Easter weekend has been a wonderful experience, from Maundy Thursday to Good Friday to Easter Sunday. Hasn’t it been a mixture of emotions?

We witnessed the dread of Jesus’s coming to terms with His assignment in the Garden of Gethsemane where He shed drops of blood in fervent prayer.

And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will’ ~ Matthew 26:39, NASB.

On Good Friday, we turned our heads as Judas hanged himself and Peter denied Christ three times.

We agonized with Jesus as He was unjustly accused and sentenced to die by crucifixion.

We cringed in horror as they lashed His back thirty-nine times and slapped the crown of thorns on His head.

We wept as He carried His cross, assisted by Simon the Cyrene, up the hill to Golgotha where they drove nails into His hands and feet.

Blessed Resurrection Day by Karen Jurgens

But Jesus was saying, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing’ ~ Luke 23:34.

We sat amazed when He forgave His tormentors as well as the thief crucified next to Him.

And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!”  And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise’ ~ Luke 23:42b-43.

We mourned with Mary, His mother, as she watched her Son suffer unto death.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’  Then He said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!’ From that hour the disciple took her into his own household ~ John 19:25-28.

We waited on Saturday. But where was Jesus from Friday night to Sunday morning?

After death, Jesus descended into the bowels of the earth to Sheol. Sheol is a two-sided holding tank for the dead, with the righteous on one side and the wicked on the other, separated by a chasm. We know this from the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-30.

First, Jesus took away the keys of death, hell, and the grave from Satan. Then He preached the Good News to the damned, giving them the opportunity to escape from their prison of hell. Every person who has ever lived must make the choice to accept or reject Jesus as Saviour. Last, the righteous vacated Sheol to live in heaven.

I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades ~ Revelation 1:17b-18.

Good Friday seals the forgiveness of our sins and the healing of our physical bodies through Jesus’s shed blood at Calvary.

The miracle of Jesus’s bodily resurrection on Sunday seals our eternity with Jesus Christ in heaven. We rejoice because His tomb is empty! Our Lord is risen, just as He said.

Blessed Resurrection Day by Karen Jurgens

What joy fills our souls as we rejoice in the goodness of our Saviour! To realize that He loved us that much–to come down from heaven to be the perfect sacrifice for us. We owed a debt we couldn’t pay, and He paid a debt He didn’t owe. He restored our broken relationship with God out of his abundant love for each one of us.

Salvation isn’t a dry, dead religion. It’s a living, personal relationship with the One True God.

May we carry Easter in our hearts all year long. May we be forever humbled and grateful, showing our sincere thanks to Jesus for providing us with the precious, priceless gift of salvation.

Blessed Resurrection Day by Karen Jurgens

 

The Last Passover

The Last Passover by Karen Jurgens

 While they were eating, He took some bread, and [j]after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, ‘Take it; this is My body.’  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  And He said to them, ‘This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.  Truly I say to you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God’ ~ Mark 14:22-25 NASB.

I’m eagerly anticipating the day we take communion with Jesus in heaven. Are you?

Wishing you a blessed Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

 

Forgiven

Forgiven by Karen Jurgens

I’m sharing one of my former blog posts to commemorate the Easter season.

A crowd of men pushes and shoves me outside my house, tearing my clothes, slapping my head. Their deep voices swirl around me, angry and taunting. The dark tones rumble, thirsty for blood. My blood.

I try to wrap my half-dressed body with my shawl, preserving what little modesty I have left. The suddenness of being discovered in bed with my lover has left me in shock. No hope of escape. Their condemnation will have its cruel way.

My heart races, chugging and pounding against my rib cage, pleading to jump out of my chest and dash away.

Clouds of dust boil around my feet as the mob pushes me toward the temple. Many pairs of dusty sandals rush in unison, stomping like a judge wielding a gavel.

“Guilty!” The Scribes scream.

“Condemned!” The Pharisees spit.

Hope has spread its wings and flown. Their hatred settles on me, like a buzzard taking up permanent residence.

Swells of roaring deafen me. Their righteous indignation drowns me.

Rough hands cast me to the ground. My shoulder scrapes across uneven rocks, tearing my flesh. The jolt smacks my side and sends pain down my leg.

I reach out to stop the momentum, but a sandaled foot crushes my hand. I collapse from the pain, laying my head down, observing dirt mingle together with my blood.

My head has changed into a heavy melon. I cannot see my persecutors through the black veil of my mangled hair.

My heart wrings itself dry of tears. Hopelessness consumes me as I surrender to their hands. My guilt waits for the sharp sting of justice, ushering death. I brace myself for the pounding of the rocks. My body shakes with fear.

Seconds pass. Every muscle in my body is tensed.

Nothing.

Voices raise poignant questions through the air. “The Law of Moses says to stone her . . . what do you say?”

I inhale a weak breath through my mouth, pressed hard into the dirt.

“Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” This voice is full of authority.

Silence.

Where are the stones that should be crushing my head? Are they planning something more painful? What are they doing? My entire body throbs.

Stones pummel, one after another, to the ground.

I cringe and gasp for my last breath.

Still, nothing touches me.

The ground vibrates with sandaled footsteps. I hear a creak of leather coming closer and can discern the outline of a man’s foot.

I raise my heavy head enough to peer at him through my hair. My eyes focus. Surprise jolts through me as I look into His face.

I know this man.

Liquid love oozes from his understanding eyes. Compassion flows from his smile. Holiness bathes his being, making me even more ashamed of myself. How can he look on me—an adulteress? I am not worthy of his attention.

“Woman, where are they?”

I push up a little, looking around for the first time. I’m outside the temple, and the men have disappeared. Only He is before me.

“Did no one condemn you?”

“No, Lord,” I answer, still not comprehending what has happened.

“Neither do I condemn you. Go your way and sin no more.”

He pulls me to my feet. The touch of His hand electrifies my entire body. All pain dissolves, and I am bathed in total peace. My flesh that was bloody and torn is now whole. I feel reborn.

He turns and walks inside the temple. I watch him with a clean heart, washed and dressed in the newness of gratitude and hope. Yes, I will sin no more. I am overcome with amazement that I am alive and not dead.

I begin to step toward home when I see something on the ground. It looks like someone wrote a word in the dirt. I pause to read it.

FORGIVEN.

Fresh tears run down my face. “Messiah!”

I will never be the same.

John 8:1-11

Forgiven by Karen Jurgens